The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHADUR
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
When Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville") inmate Horace Griffin ("Griffin") originally tendered his self-prepared 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") Complaint charging alleged violations of his constitutional rights by various Stateville officials (beginning at the top with Warden George DeTella), this Court (1) granted Griffin leave to proceed in forma pauperis in accordance with the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act ("Act") but (2) noted that Griffin's "sprawling claims" (a) had left open the question whether he had exhausted his administrative remedies as required by the Act and (b) had also left the precise nature of his complaints undefined. For that reason this Court concluded that a Spears hearing
might be helpful in both of those respects.
Magistrate Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer has since conducted such a hearing with Griffin's full participation and, after careful analysis, has determined that as a matter of law Griffin is not entitled to remain in court on any of his claims. That determination has been embodied in Magistrate Judge Pallmeyer's August 19, 1998 Report and Recommendation ("Report," a copy of which is attached to this opinion). In response to Magistrate Judge Pallmeyer's notification that he had a limited time within which to file objections to the Report (see Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b), 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Lorentzen v. Anderson Pest Control, 64 F.3d 327, 330 (7th Cir. 1995)), Griffin has provided a timely handwritten missive covering something over 18 pages.
This Court has waded through Griffin's purported objections to the Report with some difficulty, created both by Griffin's opaque style and by his tendency to digress from the issues carefully marked out by the Report. This Court has nevertheless scrutinized Griffin's proffer through the generous lens prescribed for pro se filings by Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652, 92 S. Ct. 594 (1972)(per curiam), but even with the benefit of that broad-gauge reading the Griffin submission does not provide any effective response to Magistrate Judge Pallmeyer's analysis and conclusions. Instead Griffin has really rehashed his claims without coming to grips with the legal problems that led to the Report's conclusions.
This Court therefore accepts in their entirety both the findings and recommendations made by Magistrate Judge Pallmeyer (see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C)), all of which reflect the kind of careful attention to factual matters and legal issues that reconfirm the good judgment of the two Illinois Senators in having recommended her, and the President in having nominated her, for a judgeship on this District Court. Each of Griffin's claims is deficient as a matter of law for the reasons well stated in the Report. This action is dismissed with prejudice, and its dismissal causes Griffin to be charged with one "strike" for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
Senior United States District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Plaintiff Horace J. Griffin, an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville"), has filed a pro se complaint with this court seeking damages and other relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of his constitutional rights by various officials at the Stateville Correctional Center. Defendants consist of Warden George E. DeTella, Adjustment Committee Chairman A. Johnson, Correctional Officer S. Ritche, and Superintendent Griffin. In his February 5, 1998 opinion, District Judge Milton I. Shadur granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis, but observed that Griffin's "sprawling claims" leave open the question of whether he has exhausted his administrative remedies and "leave the precise nature of his complaints undefined." Griffin v. DeTella, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1707, No. 98 C 618, 1998 WL 67617, *2 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 5, 1998). Judge Shadur concluded that a Spears hearing might be helpful in clarifying Griffin's claims.1a This court conducted such a hearing on April 17, 1998, at Stateville Correctional Center. Having heard that testimony, the court recommends that his complaint be dismissed for the reasons set forth below.
Griffin's complaint, as amplified and explained by his hearing testimony, sets forth eight claims against Stateville Warden George DeTella and other officials at Stateville. (See the court's summary of his testimony, Transcript of April 17, 1998 hearing (hereinafter, "Tr.") at 41-47.) The court will combine its presentation of the facts surrounding each claim with analysis.
First Claim: Denial of Access to Legal Papers (June 1997):
As his first claim, Griffin alleges he was denied access to his legal papers in connection with six pending cases, including three lawsuits in this district, a fourth in the Southern District, a state court appeal, and an appeal to the Seventh Circuit. Specifically, Griffin claims that when he was transferred from Menard Correctional Center to Stateville in June 1997, his personal property was taken from him, and when it was returned on June 9, 1997, some of his legal papers were missing. (Tr. 7-10.) Griffin holds Defendant DeTella responsible for this because, although Griffin complained to DeTella about the missing material, DeTella did not personally investigate the matter. (Tr. 11-14.) He also faults Defendant A. Johnson, the chair of the Adjustment Committee (Tr. 19), who, Griffin believes, should have taken action to correct the problem. As a result of the deprivation of his legal papers, Griffin testified, he "had to ...